As Algorand progresses towards implementing a peer-to-peer gossip protocol, the Relay Program is undergoing a significant directional shift. Traditionally, Algorand nodes require relays for intercommunication, embodying a classic hub and spoke model. The forthcoming peer-to-peer architecture, however, will facilitate direct communication between nodes, rendering the use of relays less critical, though they will remain operational for specific use cases.
Future Role of Relays
While relays will continue to play a role, their usage is expected to diminish. They will be particularly vital for users prioritising speed, functioning akin to an express pass. Anticipating the reduced demand post peer-to-peer implementation, the number of relays will accordingly be adjusted.
Modifications in Relay Operations
The Relay Program has already been experimenting with a ‘relay-lite’ model for nearly a year, where relays store only the latest 1000 blocks and defer historic queries to full archival nodes. Observations indicate this model meets network expectations effectively. Plans are underway to increase the storage capacity to approximately 20,000 blocks for a healthy buffer, with the exact figure yet to be finalised.
A significant change is the reduction of hardware requirements. The previously requisite 3 TB NVMe SSD is being replaced with a more manageable 256 GB drive. This adjustment serves two purposes: reducing the cost per relay and encouraging new market entrants who might have been deterred by the larger storage requirements.
Request for Proposals (RFP) for Program Participation
We are initiating the RFP process for potential participants, focusing on two types of node providers:
- 32GB RAM
- 256 GB NVMe SSD disk
- 30 TB/month egress
- 1 Gbps low-latency connection
Archival Non-Relay Nodes (gossip services disabled):
- 16GB RAM
- 3TB SSD disk (for blocks and catchpoint storage, referred to as “ColdDataDir” in our configuration)
- 100 GB NVMe SSD disk (for “hot, performance-critical data”)
- 5 TB/month egress
- 1 Gbps low-latency connection
The term of the program would be beginning the 1st of April 2024 lasting to 31st of March 2025.
In evaluating proposals for the Algorand Relay Program, the Foundation will prioritise the following key factors:
Cost Efficiency: Proposals will be assessed for their cost-effectiveness, ensuring optimal utilisation of resources.
Geographical Distribution: The geographical location of nodes is critical. A globally distributed network of nodes is sought to enhance the resilience and reliability of the network.
Hosting Provider Preferences: A preference is given to self-hosted setups or smaller cloud providers and data centers. This approach is intended to reduce dependence on major cloud service providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP, thereby mitigating potential risks from policy changes that could affect network operations.
Payment in ALGO Tokens: The Foundation favors arrangements where providers accept payments in ALGO tokens, calculated based on a 30-day trailing average. While this is preferred, it is understood that such an arrangement may not be feasible with all providers.
The Foundation is committed to fostering a robust and decentralised network, and these criteria are designed to ensure the selection of partners who align with this vision and can contribute effectively to the network’s stability and growth.
Quality and Performance Expectations
Node quality and performance should consistently meet our specified requirements. The contractual agreement will outline minimum operational expectations. Failure to adhere to these standards may result in expulsion from the program.
Prospective participants are hereby invited to submit detailed proposals outlining the cost structure for each relay node, segmented by region. Submissions should comprehensively detail the financial implications, including any potential discounts for managing multiple relay nodes.
Proposals may be submitted via the designated Google Form or, alternatively, directly via email to email@example.com. We encourage early submissions to facilitate thorough evaluation and allow time for any necessary clarifications or inquiries regarding the proposals.
Deadline for Submissions
The final date for accepting submissions will be February 7, 2024. Prompt submissions are encouraged to ensure adequate time for review and discussion.
Opportunities for Non-Technical Participants
For individuals or entities interested in participating in the program but lacking the technical expertise or resources to operate a relay, we highlight the availability of fully managed relay services provided by third-party vendors. These services offer an accessible pathway to involvement in the program, ensuring technical proficiency and ease of operation for the participants. Please note that the list of such service providers is not exhaustive and is subject to change.